Northern African and Middle Eastern Unengaged Peoples

The West Gurage are an unengaged, unreached people group living in the south-central highlands of Ethiopia. They speak the Sebat Bet Gurage language, which literally means “seven houses,” referring to seven groups that use this language with slightly different dialects. The life of most West Gurage is based on agriculture. Their main crop is enset, or false banana. It looks like a banana tree but produces no fruit and is prized for its large, round root. This root is pounded and made into a bread-like food called “kocho.” The large leaves are used in many ways, including the wrapping of bodies after death and the tying off of the umbilical cord after birth. There are almost 3 million West Gurage, and the majority practice Orthodox Christianity. The countryside is home to Orthodox monasteries likely dating back to the Middle Ages. As Orthodox, they have no understanding of salvation by grace through faith. Their lives are full of doing good works to try to please God: fasting; going to church; and praying to saints, angels, and Mary. Pray that near-culture peoples who have the gospel will take it to the West Gurage and that many will put their faith in Jesus alone for salvation.